Taking positives from a Munster loss at Thomond Park in a big European match would not have happened a few years ago, according to Rory Best.
Munster failed to qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals for the second season in a row when they lost to Toulouse on Saturday in a high-scoring affair in Limerick.
Best was speaking to RTE‘s Game On about the game and while he saw plenty of positives from Munster’s perspective, he believes that in itself shows where the southern province stands in relation to Toulouse.
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) April 5, 2021
“I think all in all when you contrast the week before [against Leinster] there were more positives than negatives,” Best said.
“But it was a statement of where Toulouse are that you’re kind of looking at a Munster loss in Europe at home and taking a few positives from it. A few years ago that just wouldn’t have been heard of.”
‘You wanted them to go and play’
The former Ireland and Ulster captain was frustrated with Munster’s performance against Leinster, as he believes aspects of their game plan was an attempt at damage limitation.
While the Ulsterman thought Munster played with a lot more freedom and confidence against Toulouse, he still saw signs of negative thinking at Thomond Park on Saturday.
“They seem to be struggling a little bit. The big difference between the Leinster game and the Toulouse game was you felt that Munster at least went and played,” Best commented.
“They almost looked like they were playing against Leinster to limit the damage at times, which isn’t Munster. They started the game like that against Toulouse.
“They got a really good turnover early on, and they slowed it down and box-kicked it. You wanted them to go and play. In the second 20 minutes of the first half they did and they looked really strong.”